Service Still Plays a Role
Service… It’s a simple word we all know and have used thousands of times in the past. However, for many of us, service is more than a word. As consumers, we attach an adjective to it (terrible, average or great) and it will be an important factor when deciding how or where we spend our money. We consider it when choosing a restaurant for the evening or where to buy a new automobile, which stores we shop at or which airlines we decide to fly. For most consumers, I would guess that it plays a critical role in our decision-making process.
With that said, is it accurate to say that service plays a significant role in our industry when it comes to deciding on which service provider/vendor to use? With so many options available to corporations, law firms and government entities – probably too many options – what are the key factors they consider?
It’s been my experience that along with service, price, technology offering (i.e., is it a name brand?), security, workflow, size, financial stability, experience and expertise are the most prevalent. If we were to rank these factors, price, workflow and the technology being offered would be towards the top because these three factors play the biggest role in reducing overall discovery expenditures.
Reducing discovery expenditures and accurately forecasting these costs going forward have become increasingly important because of the new sources of discoverable data and the explosion of data sizes. While price, workflow, and technology are key catalysts for reducing discovery expenditures, let’s not lose sight of the truly important role service plays.
The role service plays can’t be overstated, but it can be subtle. Best-in-breed technology can’t execute and administer itself. Price does not work all hours of the night to respond to clients’ needs and make sure requests are being handled accurately. Custom workflows can’t consult with clients to identify the best approach to meet their end goals. At the end of the day, price, technology and workflow will receive the accolades, but it's service that is driving the overall customer experience and the outcome.
Let me give you a recent example. Several months back, a prospective law firm client reached out for a bid. This was our first opportunity to work with the client, and we eventually won the bid based on competitive pricing, technology and workflow. Despite the challenges of an aggressive deadline and a significant amount of data, we exceeded expectations and helped the end client realize significant savings. As a result the law firm immediately asked us to bid on a new matter and the end corporate client requested to work with our team on all future projects. The pricing was competitive, the technology and workflow worked great, but it was the service provided that made the biggest impression – ultimately, proving to be the most substantial reason for success.
SERVICE is the foundation of what we do, and I think it can sometimes get lost when differentiating ourselves. While we lead with value propositions such as price, technology, workflow, security, size, financial stability, etc., service makes the biggest and longest lasting impression on the clients we serve and it should be the highest priority for any service provider. Service will be difficult to sell to a new client, but it is the guaranteed way to bring clients back, and it is paramount when building long lasting relationships. Providing white glove service encompasses a lot of things, and it can be difficult to maintain as a standard, but it’s imperative that we don’t lose sight of service and the role it plays.